Clearwater, FL -- All three teens responsible for beating a fellow student aboard a school bus in Gulfport this past July were sentenced to probation Thursday.
The shocking video that went viral because of its brutality, was played one more time in court before that sentence was handed down.
PHOTOS: Gulfport bus beating
The punishment was widely predicted, as was the reaction.
It was clear in the court of public opinion, there would be disappointment if the teens got probation.
The judge gave experts ample opportunity to publicly explain why they came to that recommendation, clearly predicting his decision would be criticized.
"I do believe we are best served if I accept the recommendations of probation," said Judge Raymond Gross.
With no previous record, all three teen defendants were given indefinite electronically monitored probation, community service and a curfew.
The video-taped beating, played once more in court today, was so vicious that even the bus driver at the time yelled to the teens, "You're going to jail!"
SEE ALSO: School bus beating: Bus driver will not be charged
And had 15 year olds Kemradj Lloyd, Julian McKnight and Joshua Redden been charged as adults, Judge Raymond Gross reminded them they'd be facing second degree felonies, and up to 15 years in prison.
"In juvenile court it's considered an act of delinquency," he explained, not aggravated assault.
All three teens entered a guilty plea for beating their 13-year-old schoolmate. It was retribution, said prosecutors, for having declined and reported an offer to buy drugs earlier at school. But with no prior violent history, experts testified that committing the teens to an institution might do more harm than good.
"They are more likely to get into trouble after their released," said one psychiatrist.
STORY: Bus beating victim's grandfather reacts to sentence
"Although this was a horrible situation, if we can provide appropriate supervision and the services we don't have to worry about it happening again -- hopefully," added another.
The shocking video sparked national outrage. Dozens of punches and 23 kicks. A beating so severe it left the the victim with a broken arm.
Today for the first time, the defendants spoke. They offered the court shame-filled explanations and offered the victim apologies.
Joshua Reddin, the ring leader, and the teen seen doing most of the beating in the video, said he was mad because the victim had reported them to school officials.
"I was angry. I felt disrespected," said Reddin, "because something was said bad about me that wasn't true. And I took it in my own matters and things just got worse."
Julian McKnight said he was a follower, but the judge said that was no excuse.
"I should have never did that," said McKnight.
"I'm sorry for what I did," added the third teen, Khemjad Lloyd.
Their lawyers say all three teens have also written letters of apology to the young victim. Their parents relayed similar regret.
"I can't begin to understand what they may be going through and I'm just sorry that it happened," said Reddin's mother, speaking through tears.
The defendants were ordered to have no contact with each other or the victim -- who chose not to be in court today.
Judge Gross issued them a zero tolerance warning. If they violate their probation, curfew, or any other aspects of their punishment, he would not hesitate to place them in a juvenile facility.
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